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Upgrading the exterior of your home improves its value, enhances its appearance, and also creates a more comfortable environment in which to live. For projects that require a professional’s help, it’s important to work with a professional contractor who has a history of providing exceptional service to customers.
Finding the best contractor means acting like your own human resources department and examining the qualifications of a few local renovation businesses to decide who is the best candidate for the job. A great contractor will earn your respect by remaining on schedule, offering clarity in pricing, and providing consistent communication.
Here are some essential characteristics that separate a ho-hum contractor from the best contractor in your area, as well as some of the steps you’ll want to take to find a great home improvement partner.
Don’t Rush the Search
If you’re looking at an emergency situation like a giant hole in the roof that needs immediate work, it’s probably not going to be possible to conduct lengthy interviews and research. However, if you’re looking at a timeline that doesn’t require immediate action, the time you take to educate yourself on your project and your potential contractors is worth the extra time it takes to reach the project’s conclusion.
Bankrate offers some “timely” advice on your timeline for finding a contractor:
“The best thing to do before you start interviewing contractors is educate yourself on the project… The more you know, the more able you’ll be to ask savvy questions and make smart decisions concerning the project.”
A good contractor will share a wealth of information with you about your project, but it can’t hurt to come to the table as an educated customer. Knowing what questions to ask will help you find an experienced and trustworthy contractor.
Look at Referrals and Reputation
Many great contractors don’t need to advertise at all because they receive so many recommendations from past clients. They’ll also tend to have a positive vibe on the internet as far as past customers are concerned.
Tip: Don’t rely entirely on the reviews you find online. They’re a good way to enhance the information you have about your contractor, but the internet is a pretty wild place when it comes to total accuracy, particularly on review sites like Yelp.
USA Today provides some sage advice on personal recommendations and online reviews:
“Usually, the easiest is to begin by seeking recommendations from family members and friends. Tap into social networking sites, such as Facebook, to expand your reach. Keep in mind though that anyone making a personal referral may not have had the same type of work done or had it done on the same budget as you’re anticipating.”
A great way to weed through reviews and recommendations is to find instances of similar work. For example, if you’re looking at getting new windows, look for reviews and recommendations that include windows or resemble the project you’d like to plan.
Narrowing the List
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few awesome contractors, there are a few additional steps you can take to choose the contractor who will work best for your project.
- Ask friends about their experiences – Some of the best recommendations come from friends. Ask them about the outcome of their own home renovation projects.
- Conduct interviews with each contractor – Ask each contractor simple questions about his or her experience and licensing.
- Meet with your contractor – A meeting with your contractor is important because you need to find someone who you feel can bring your home improvement project to life.
- Check out your contractor’s other projects – You might be able to visit the site of another project where your contractor is currently working.
- Ask for bids – The price isn’t the only consideration you should have when choosing a contractor, but it can be a deciding factor.
Read more about these steps at This Old House or download our free guide: “Seven Questions to Ask When Hiring an Exterior Remodeling Contractor in Massachusetts” for valuable guidance on your home improvement project.
After You’ve Hired Your Contractor
A professional contractor has probably finished many projects exactly like the one you’ve hired him or her to complete. It’s okay to trust what your contractor tells you for things like the scope of the project and the time required to complete it.
It may feel difficult at first to place your trust in a stranger who may be changing a significant feature of your home, but that’s why it’s important to conduct your research and choose a contractor with whom you feel comfortable.
U.S. News & World Report recommends keeping in contact with your contractor throughout the project:
“For a big job, you may need to talk every day. If you see a potential issue, speak up immediately. Something that is done wrong will be harder to fix later after your contractor has packed up and moved on to his next job.”
Even if the job you’ve hired your contractor for will take no more than a few hours or days (such as replacing your exterior doors), it’s okay to ask your contractor questions when you’re confused or need information about the project.
Work With the Professionals at O’Sullivan Installs
Is your home due for an exterior upgrade? Want to learn more about your siding project, new windows, or other home renovation? Contact O’Sullivan Installs for a FREE Consultation and download our free guide: “Seven Questions to Ask When Hiring an Exterior Remodeling Contractor in Massachusetts” for valuable guidance on your home improvement project.
About the Author – Tim O'Sullivan
I started in the window and door business at 18 yrs old. My first job was for a local corner shop in Lowell, Ma that gave me a unique experience working with exterior remodeling products. I saw both the good and bad products and contractors and learned a lot about what distinguished one from the other. My goal in launching O’Sullivan Installs is to be the diamond in the rough. We don’t offer a buy-today discount to distract you from the remodel at hand and we don’t offer the cheapest products on the market that won’t last. We offer what we feel are the best quality products on the market with the highest quality install you can get, and we offer it all at the best value. We are so confident in our product and installation that they come with a Lifetime Workmanship Warranty.